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Asha's Savory Turmeric Lentils 'n' Oats

Recipe By: Asha Loupy

Serves 6

Asha's Savory Turmeric Lentil 'n' Oats
Photo by:  

Melati Citrawireja

Sweet oatmeal ain't got nothing on this super hearty, highly breakfastable, turmeric-tinged savory lentils 'n' oats. Inspired by fada ni khichdi—a savory porridge made with lentils and cracked wheat—this morning powerhouse replaces the cracked wheat with steel-cut oats. Simply flavored with Lakadong Turmeric and a few cracks of Aranya Pepper (the piperine in the pepper aids in the digestion of the curcumin in the turmeric), this golden bowlful is topped with a garlicky, curry leaf tadka studded with cumin and black mustard seeds.

This recipe makes about two quarts. If you are a smaller household, the recipe can easily be halved. However, as a household of two, I always make a full batch of the oatmeal and keep it in the fridge for a week's worth of cozy breakfasts. That way all I have to do is heat up an individual portion (I like to thin it out with a little water if it is too thick) and prepare a little batch of tadka for the top.

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For the lentils 'n' oats
  • 7 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 cup steep-cut oats (do not use rolled or instant oats here!)
  • 1/2 cup masoor dal
  • 1/2 cup chana dal
  • 1 tablespoon Lakadong Turmeric
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • A few cracks of Aranya Pepper
  • Neutral oil, for oiling the pot
For the tadka
  • 4 tablespoons ghee
  • 3/4 teaspoon whole Nagauri Cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 8–10 fresh curry leaves
  • 2 Indian green chillies, split lengthwise
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered Guntur Sannam Chillies
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. To cook in an Instant Pot: Lightly oil the inner pot to your Instant Pot or countertop pressure cooker (this will prevent the foam from lentils and oatmeal cooking from sneaking too high up the sides of the pot. Add the stock, steel-cut oats, masoor dal, chana dal, turmeric, salt, and pepper in the inner pot and stir to combine. Place the lid on the pressure cooker and cook on HIGH for 14 minutes, allowing a natural release. Fully release the pressure, stir, taste and adjust seasonings, as necessary (it's okay if the mixture looks a little thin, it will thicken as it cools down slightly). Keep warm until serving.
  2. To cook on the stove top: First, soak the lentils in water for 2 hours to overnight. Combine the oatmeal ingredients in a large pot, bring to a boil over medium high heat, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the oatmeal and lentils are completely cooked through, about 40–45 minutes. Keep warm until serving.
  3. To prepare the tadka, heat the ghee in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the cumin and black mustard seeds, and cook until the mustard seeds start to pop, about 30 seconds. Add the garlic, curry leaves and green chillies, and cook, swirling the pan frequently, until the garlic turns very light golden. Turn off the heat and add the powdered chillies and salt, stirring to combine.
  4. To serve, ladle the oatmeal into individual bowls and garnish each bowl with a couple spoonfuls of the tadka, making sure to get a few curry leaves in each portion. Enjoy hot.